The terms grounding and centering are sometimes used interchangeably. When a distinction is made, centering usually refers to our state of mind (mental and physical), while grounding refers to our connection to the earth. The term earthing is also used for grounding. We might call someone who is grounded a “down-to-earth” person. We are usually thinking of their characteristics of being sensible, genuine, realistic, and dependable—we could even say the opposite of what the words “flighty” or “frivolous” bring to mind. Grounded equals stable in one place, not easily moved around, and with a balanced view of oneself and others. We might think of trees – rooted in the earth, with a stable base and yet flexible. Grounded people are easy to be around, and we can depend on them.
What is the connection with our identity, and who we are in a marriage? Think of two trees planted side by side. We don’t expect them to merge and become one tree. If they were to grow into each other on one side only, they would appear lopsided. Likewise, one tree leaning could cause problems in their “relationship”. Yet, at the same time, as long as each tree is “grounded”, they can support each other in a storm, or one can support the other if there is unusual pressure on one. If one tree is not well grounded and is easily uprooted, it can be a danger to the other tree instead of adding stability.
Raab brings up the concept of “grounding before giving”. We need to be centered and grounded in order to be helpful to others (2020, para 3). In less metaphorical terms, grounding can mean “slowing down our emotions and getting more in touch with our internal and external worlds … helpful when we feel either unbalanced or nervous” (Raab, 2020 para 2). When we are grounded, we become more stable in our own identity and more in touch with ourselves.
Findlay (2020) uses the metaphor of jump starting a battery, and the action we take of grounding one of the cables to reduce the chance of an explosion. We are bioelectrical beings and carry our own charge. “This charge changes depending on our environment and what we come into contact with…our mental, physical, and emotional states are affected … positively [or] negatively” (Findlay, 2020, para 2). We can experience the benefits of grounding to the earth—in a sense, getting a recharge while reducing the chances of an explosion.
Findlay also says that for grounding, your skin needs to touch the earth—the earth being grass, sand, soil, gravel, rocks, tile, or water but not asphalt, rubber, wood, or vinyl, which don’t conduct electricity. Some methods of grounding include walking barefoot, swimming or wading in natural bodies of water, lying on the ground, picnicking, gardening, and exercising outdoors (2020, para 8-9).
In summary, grounding helps us to be who we are in connection with Mother Earth and the rest of the world, energizes, relaxes, and calms us. If we can enjoy the outdoors or exercise with our spouse? —so much the better!
Findley, I. (2020, August 27). From Sole to Soul: The Healing Nature of Grounding. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-progress-project/202008/sole-soul-the-healing-nature-grounding
Raab, D. (2020, February 3). What Is Centering? What Is Grounding? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-empowerment-diary/202002/what-is-centering-what-is-grounding